Questions for the SNP to ponder

When I as a young man was on the losing side in the 1975 referendum on EEC membership, I did not think we should have a second referendum soon afterwards to try again to get us out. Indeed, more than 25 years past before I and others called for referenda on the Euro and the growing political union that the EEC had become.  A referendum is designed to answer a question and make a decision for a decent period of time when it is about these fundamental constitutional matters.

The SNP will have time to consider what went wrong with their last case for so called independence, and what has gone wrong for them since that event. At current oil prices, with the rapid run down in oil output, their economic arithmetic needs reworking over what a Scottish budget would look like.

The rest of the UK would clearly insist on an independent Scotland leaving the pound. Being in a currency union requires each part of the Union to underwrite all parts of the Union socially, economically, and the banking system.  English, Welsh and Northern Irish taxpayers would  no  longer be willing to do this for an independent Scotland.

Scotland would be out of the EU whether the UK is still in or out itself. The EU does not wish to encourage separatist movements within EU countries by offering them easy membership. Spain is insistent on this point given its refusal even to allow a referendum in Catalonia. Nor would Scotland as an applicant country be likely to be offered opt outs from the Euro and Schengen, nor a contribution rebate as the UK currently enjoys.

I was interested to read that the SNP  now think maybe seeking to join EFTA would be better, so their argument that this is mainly about EU membership has not lasted a couple of days debate about a second referendum.

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92 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Hammond need to start to think about how he can grow the economy & tax base by shrinking the state. Currently he is still thinking “how can I bleed (and inconvenience) the productive even more”. It will not work they are taxed and regulated far, far too much already.

    • Bob
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Or is he wondering which foreign businessmen will be offering the most lucrative sinecures when he leaves his current job?

  2. Original Richard
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    “Nor would Scotland as an applicant country be likely to be offered opt outs from the Euro and Schengen, nor a contribution rebate as the UK currently enjoys.”

    Scotland would also need to consider the possibility of being asked to take their share of illegal migrants and the possible loss of their fishing grounds for a second time.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      No ‘possible’ about it – they would lose the fishing grounds.

  3. Jerry
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    With regards your last paragraph John, there isn’t even any certainty that an iScotland would be accepted into the EFTA either, for much the same reason why joining the full EU is off the cards,after all an iCatalonia would still do very nicely out of just EFTA membership.

    The SNP have tunnel vision, nothing but full independence will do, even if it does trash their economy, and to think that they have the nerve to accuse UKIP and the eurosceptic wing of the Tory party of wanting to trash the UK’s economy with a hard Brexit!

    • Mark
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      The EU and its members would certainly have a veto on Scotland becoming a party to the EEA agreement – as would the UK unless we resign membership of the EEA.

    • Tony Sharp
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Iceland has already said that an independent Sctland may not enter EFTA straight away, or indeed possibly ever!

  4. Mick
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/17/brexit-important-keeping-uk-together-public-say-poll-telegraph/
    I hope Mrs May reads this, I for one couldn’t careless if Scotland was cast adrift, I just don’t see any benefit to stay united to these whingers , let them go and stay in there beloved eu then build that wall up again but bigger, I would give it one term of parliament and they will be begging to be let back into the UK

    • James neill
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Mick..the romans built a wall there way back when we had a different type of EU..these things run in cycles so no need to get too excited..the scots will still be there in another thousand years or so which is more than we can say about the UK or the EU. On another note i don’t see the irish begging to be let back into the UK..just a thought

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        They begged for a bail out from the UK though didn’t they and we paid up billions! Thousands of Irish emigrate to the UK. They don’t pay anything to NATO or the UK for their defence. They are allowed to break the EU rules relating to unfair tax competition, there’ll be a day of reckoning because the English are waking up. Our English children are being forced to take on horrendous loans for their education, being told they can’t obtain their State pension until they’re 70 potentially 75, the NHS services are reducing each year, the Labour government removed their dentists, their weekend local GP service, their local GP emergency night service, the tax bills to prop up the local Council’s fabulous final salary pensions are getting difficult to manage -on top of 20% tax, 12% NI, 9% student loan, if they do a Masters that’s another 5% to pay that loan off at the same time, Road and bridge tolls, fines, parking charges, high transport costs, super high mortgage costs, compulsory licence fee.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Suspect you’re not on your own on that one. If England had a vote on whether it wanted to continue with this so called union, which discriminates against them so badly, the answer would be a resounding NO. It is only our self serving politicians who ignore the English and pander to the Scots’ every whim. They neither consult me or represent my views.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        JoolsB

        100% correct

        Its about time the English had a say, and its way past time we had our own parliament . We need English Independence

    • getahead
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think, according to polls, that the SNP would win a second referendum either.
      It’s all look at me, I’m in charge, noise.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        According to that poll they would, and by a large margin – Table 1 here:

        http://www.orb-international.com/perch/resources/marchdatatables4.pdf

        “Q.1 Do you support or oppose Scotland becoming an independent country and leaving the UK?”

        Results in Scotland:

        Support 58.7%
        Oppose 41.3%

        That’s only 103 for and 72 against, and with such a small sample the results are even less reliable than usual, but even so it’s quite a large margin.

        I’m sure that many of those saying they would vote for independence would have second thoughts if they realised that the SNP are deceiving them with the false impression that Scotland could leave the UK before the UK left the EU, as a Leave vote in a referendum held in the autumn of 2018 would be too late for that process of separation to be completed by spring 2019.

  5. eeyore
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    A thought experiment: imagine the referendums been held the other way round – EU first, then Scottish. Imagine further that the UK as a whole votes to remain in the EU, but a little while later Scots vote to leave the UK.

    Would the Leavers in the rump UK feel that circumstances had changed sufficiently for them to demand another EU referendum? And would they be content to be told that referendums are “designed to answer a question and make a decision for a decent period of time”?

    Reply As I did in 1975 I would have held it necessary to wait a generation before another.

    • eeyore
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this. After 1975 there was no significant change of circumstance to provoke calls for a fresh vote, so the two cases are not parallel. Also I note your reply is personal; what other prominent Leavers might have said – especially had it been the Scottish vote that kept us in the EU – we can only imagine.

      If there should be a second Sindy referendum, I hope the voice of England will be heard. Last time round we heard much from the Scots and much from the Union, but not a peep about the English interest. The assumption was that England and the Union had the same interest. Many might disagree.

      In fact, if the SNP had an ounce of political nous they would be looking for a formidable southern ally to turn the Unionist flank by making the case for English independence from Scotland. Who could it be? Step forward Nigel Farage!

    • Tony Sharp
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      If I understand Ms Sturgeon’s opinions correctly she is a fundamental anti-democrat in the European mold – she won’t accept the EU Membership Referendum result, nor will she accept the ScotsIndy Referendum result! Like the EU she wants another referendum on both issues until we get a result she agrees with.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 19, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      If the margin of Remain votes over Leave votes in Scotland had been significantly greater than the margin in the whole of the UK then it could reasonably be argued that the Scots had swung the vote from Leave to Remain and so we should have another vote some time after they had left. But for the sake of an orderly process I would only support that for a repeat vote held some time after the separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK had actually been completed, which would be several years down the line from their vote for separation to take place. Likewise personally I am prepared to consider holding a second Scottish independence referendum once the UK has left the EU and there has been enough time for Scots to be able to judge how that has affected Scotland in practice, not just on the basis of the theoretical predictions by the SNP that the consequences will be catastrophic.

      • eeyore
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Denis. Excellent good sense. I look forward to HMG making this very point.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    It’s all about a childish hatred of the English.

    There is a reason for the young Scots in particular, being keen on leaving the UK. Mel Gibson, in the film Braveheart will have been shown to them.

    I believe Mr Gibson intended to stir up discontent with that film and so he has.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t anyone tell them that, Mel Gibson is Australian ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        And with some other distasteful views for which he has been criticised.

        • Doom
          Posted March 19, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

          D.C
          He is/was extremely good looking though

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      The SNP are using this antipathy towards the English as an opportunity to create a socialist fiefdom, based on the high tide mark of the Roman Empire.

      Our landmass (smaller than an American state) was always one people until then – the Little Scotlanders can’t stand being governed *from* London (not *by*) yet Ms Sturgeon would hold in contempt many Americans who yet have the reasonableness to accept being governed from Washington despite the size of their country being infinitely larger.

      Germany gets reunified yet Britain explodes ? How on earth has this happened ? (Tony Blair’s time bomb.)

      Allow England a vote in the next Scottish referendum – Sturgeon will get her way, and some.

      Note: No talk of cliff edges from Sturgeon over Joxit.

      Ireland wants a united island. Why do the Scots want a disunited island ? Pure hatred of us. Over a stupid bloody Hollywood film, in the main.

      • APL
        Posted March 20, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        Anon: “based on the high tide mark of the Roman Empire. ”

        That would be the Antoine wall, some way north of Edinburgh.

  7. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Everybody knows that the case for a referendum in Scotland is nothing to do with Brexit. If it hadn’t been Brexit it would have been something else being used as an excuse. The whole reason the SNP are there is for independence at any cost. I am sick of hearing the phrase Tory/Westminster used by them. If they had an ounce of common sense the electorate would give Ruth Davidson a chance but they are so full of hatred and bias towards the Tory party since Thatcher that will never happen.

    I hear that Gordon Brown wants to hand a lot more powers over to the SNP after Brexit. I think he should stop giving in to them, giving them more and more power and money and start making the electorate think about what they really want. If it’s truly independence then so be it but they will have to think about the loss of the Barnet Formula, subsidies paid to farmers, subsidies they will have to pay for wind power (which will be a fortune) and all other services which will have to be found by them alone not forgetting bailing out banks when they go bust. It’s time to make your mind up!!

  8. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Loved Tracy Ullman’s take on Sturgeon last night!

  9. agricola
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Every time I hear the SNP in the H o C their detestation of England is tangible. The possibility of joining the EU or EFTA are just tools in their hatred. Nor do they let economic reality get in the way of leaving the UK for the sake of leaving.

    I personally doubt that they can persuade the electorate of Scotland on the merits of their obsessional mantra. However if they do not as an electorate like the results of Brexit, lets say about five years from it’s completion, then they should be cut loose.

    • agricola
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      PS.

      The Gordon Brown options should be politely declined. I see them as a Trojan horse designed to cause disruption.

      • David Ashton
        Posted March 18, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        As far as I can see, the Gordon Brown option gives Scotland all the powers of independence but with the financial support of the Barnett formula. Theresa May should reject his proposition in no uncertain terms.

  10. DaveM
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    This Scotland issue is beyond tedious. And despite the fact that I find Sturgeon to be one of the most irritating public figures for many years, the whole debate is not helped by the fact that the Conservative party pigheadedly refuses to recognise the fact that the U.K. is not the same as it was 50 years ago. It also refuses to recognise that our political construct needs a complete overhaul from the Lords down to local government, and proposals need to be put forward, not by cabinet ministers, but by people from all walks of life who actually care about things beyond seeing how much tax they can raise then give away to work-shysters, hypochondriacs, and third world despots. Even the hapless Gordon Brown can see that, although in true Tory party style he refuses to recognise England, referring to my country as “the regions”.

    And what excuse has May found to delay A50 now? I thought the idea of leaving was so that we wouldn’t be dictated to by the EU, yet all I read is excuses about Dutch elections, 60 year celebrations, etc. What will be the next excuse? St George’s Day? The Queen’s jubilee? Just get the hell on with it!!!

  11. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    GB has intervened to muddy the water, which is intriguing. Will he formally involve himself in the Scottish Labour Party to counter the SNP? Will Scottish residents take any notice of him? Will his standing influence the upcoming illegal referendum vote in Holyrood?

    Whilst the Scottish electorate are besotted with the SNP and blind to their charge to financial ruin there seems little Westminster can do about their rantings. The irony is for years Scotland’s Labour MPs ran England and we had to put up with it, now Scottish Labour has imploded the SNP are trying to repeat the exercise not by legal democracy but threats. Maybe the Supreme Court could sort them out!

  12. Bert Young
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    This “Scotish” thing has reached a sickening proportion . It should have been a week of celebration and joy following the final kicking into the long grass of the Lords’ equally stupid efforts .

    All the points John mentions show how ridiculous it is for the SNP to pursue objectives that ignore reality ; I always used to admire the pragmatism and straighforwardness that I associated with Scotland , I no longer do so now . I have reached the point where I consider we would be better off without them ; they (as represented by the SNP) are are a snivelling lot who not appreciate which side their bread is buttered on .

    There is now a lot of catching up to do for the Scots to win back a place in my admiration book ; the last thing I want is for Theresa to start to wilt and offer olive branches . Theresa has to stick to a hard line and not negotiate with Sturgeon .

    • Dunedin
      Posted March 19, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Bert – the pragmatic and straightforward Scots still exist, but have no voice in Westminster. The SNP are manipulating English public opinion for their own ends by trying to make the English want Scotland to leave. The SNP most certainly do not speak for all Scots.

  13. formula57
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    As Theresa (who could in fact be up to the job, very pleasingly) has said, the SNP has tunnel vision and once leaving the Union is accomplished, it would be no surprise at all to find it professes to have doubts about being subsumed by the Evil Empire.

    On the point “At current oil prices, with the rapid run down in oil output, their economic arithmetic needs reworking over what a Scottish budget would look like” one might say so does your’s! Is there an upper limit to the cost and drain upon the UK that Scotland represents? Where comes the payoff for that?

  14. APL
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    JR: “The rest of the UK would clearly insist on an independent Scotland leaving the pound. ”

    The “pound” is barely worth one and a half bars of (lower weight ) sweets. In 1913 one pound would support the living expenses of a man for a week.

    The pound has been devalued by successive governments by in excess of 9,000% in the last century.

    The unit pound of weight, has been abolished, back in the day you’d buy fruit and vegetables by the pound (weight) now because of the devaluation of the pound sterling, and the destruction of the family unit, you buy an apple or a pack of four with no change from £1.

    Your ConLab party have utterly destroyed the value of the Pound Sterling, and abolished the pound weight.

    Yet here you are telling us how precious the pound is and how we should not share it with the Scots.

    Scotland would do well to invent a completely new currency and back it with something tangible( if their leaders had the imagination ) a new currency unit that hadn’t been utterly destroyed to disguise the political ineptitude and mismanagement of the British economy.

    • Stuart Ellis
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      This is rubbish of the first order. The Scottish economy is small, weak and in terms of trade largely dependent on access to the rest of the UK – England in particular. The Scottish budget is around £35 billion with £10 billion provided by Westminster under the Barnett formula which would disappear if Scotland were independent. In addition to that sorry fiscal position the Scottish government had a budget deficit of £15 billion last year – almost 10% of GDP. Where on earth do you think there is anything “tangible” to back a Scottish currency?

      • APL
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Stuart Ellis: “The Scottish economy is small, weak and in terms of trade largely dependent on access to the rest of the UK – England in particular. ”

        The Nationalists might say the weakness is a consequence of having it’s economy run from Westminster. The ruination of it’s heavy industry, I don’t think there is one active coal mine left in Scotland, nor one working steel mill and Edward Heath destroyed the Scottish fishing industry with the accession to the European Economic community.

        An event which, there is a case to be made, led to the destruction of the Scottish fishing fleet and the loss of a significant fraction of independent minded, Tory voting, businessmen. In turn accounting for the decline of the Tory vote in Scotland – turning it into the Labour ( now SNP ) fiefdom we see today.

        Stuart Ellis: “and in terms of trade largely dependent on access to the rest of the UK”

        Very probably true. And why I often argue that most Scottish Nationalists don’t understand the benefits of the Act of Union.

        Stuart Ellis: “Where on earth do you think there is anything “tangible” to back a Scottish currency?”

        It seems clear to me that the maritime border leaves all of what is left of the oil reserves in the North sea, within an independent Scottish entities territorial boundaries. What’s left of the admittedly depleted resource would be quite a boon to an economy of only 5 million people – especially when the cost to develop the resource has already been sunk.

        They could use the income to build up other aspects of their economy, an independent Scotland would get back it’s fishing territories.

        I am not an advocate of Scottish Independence, and my post was really to mock Redwood’s enthusiasm for the pound sterling which as I pointed out is a shadow of its former self.

        A consequence almost entirely the result of the incompetence and refusal of the political class to govern this country – of which our membership of the European Union is but one symptom.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Stuart Ellis

        By tangible backing he clearly meant something like gold , silver or another commodity rather than a fiat currency .

        Personally if I were Scottish I’d go full independence and model my country on Switzerland, Hong Kong or Singapore rather than a socialist light snowflake economy like most of Western Europe

    • Mark
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Something tangible – windmills perhaps? They could tilt at them too.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Scottish politicians inventing a currency and backing it with something “tangible” will only break the agreement later.

      • APL
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “Scottish politicians inventing a currency and backing it with something “tangible” will only break the agreement later.”

        Possibly, very probably. But none the less, if we had an utterly different set of Nationalist politicians in Scotland, with an utterly different set of economic policies not founded in Marxist/Leninist ideology, things might be different.

    • Tony Sharp
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      A new ‘currency unit’ The Poond’ would be worthless for Scotland as they have an expenditure accumulated debt of ten times their income. This is serviced by being part of the UK. At the last Indyref the UKG Treasury quickly calmed the markets by stating categorically the 9.5% of UK International Debt assignable to ‘Scotland’ would be covered by the UK. This seems a bargain for the Scots (‘Scot Free’ !!) as the Scottish Treasury would start with Zero international liabilities. However, that would make it very difficult for them to find anybody to make loans to them (ie already reneged on the previous debt) – apart from the fact they have nothing to service the borrowings from being in their own negative current account mess. This makes Greece’s illiquidity look frankly healthy!

  15. Michael
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    It would be helpful for some work to be done to identify the advantages of Scottish independence to English, Northern Irish and Welsh taxpayers. It would appear a great amount of taxpayer’s money could be saved but how much? Various rough estimates have been made all of them significant.

  16. Mark B
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Sorry but I will have to correct our kind host on one point. Scotland can use the pound. In fact, they can use any currency they want, including the Euro or the US Dollar. What they cannot do is set interest rates to control it and, expect inter-transfers as I kind host does mention.

    The SNP are slowly being exposed for the frauds I believe them to be. First they demand that they need a referendum because the UK is leaving the EU, even thought the EU referendum was a UK one. Then when it is obvious that would mean that Scotland, both out of the UK and EU would be in an even worse position, they now talk about EFTA. Which begs two questions. If they now want EFTA, what was so wrong about EU membership in the first place ? Second. If the people of Scotland, as the SNP claim, voted in the EU referendum to remain part of the EU, then dumping the EU option in favour of EFTA, is that therefore going against the democratic wishes of the very people they claim to be representing and, undermining the whole argument for having an independence referendum in the first place ?

    I am confused ?????? And I think the SNP are too !

    • Enoch
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      I think Scotland would be expected to be a net contributor to the EU.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        At least on its present per capita GDP, close to that of the UK.

  17. Jack snell
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Scotland is a proud nation and as such its people are quite entitled to seek independance from the Uk or the Eu or from NATO itself,-even if the people want to live in poorer quiter circumstances. Its not all about oil and deficits- if the people want to get away from the domination of a much more powerful populated England then that is their right. Holding them in situ with refusals to their democratic wishes and threats to their economic well being is not the way forward. Consider this then, that in one hundred years time, whatever the outcome of the EU negotiations, the scots will still be there as our neighbours.. so we should encourage them more in a positive way and help where we can- not trying to hold them against their will.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry Jack, the Scots already get a better financial deal than Wales, Northern Ireland & England.

      The time for appeasement is over.

      They have had their cake, which they have eaten, and they want a slice of cake from every other region of the UK as well.

      By all means give them another independence referendum on a sensible time-scale but that is the end of the matter regardless of the outcome.

      It should be written into whatever Act is needed, that a vote to stay in the UK means another referendum cannot be called for say at least 15 years, regardless of circumstances.

      And a vote to be independent means a loss of Barnett on indy day +1…as well as moving all UK public service establishments to the other regions of the UK as well as cancelling all ship building contracts and moving Faslane naval base.

    • Tony Sharp
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      The Scots actually have had a disproportionate say and control in the UK since the Union in 1707. Just look at how many Scots have been PM!

    • Treacle
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      But the Scots don’t want independence. We voted against it by more than 10%. It’s the SNP – which does not even have a majority at Holyrood – that wants independence. Please don’t confuse the two.

  18. Antisthenes
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    The EU set a precedent when they insisted on second referendums when the first one went against it. It points to a lowering of standards in our moral compasses as now the SNP wish to do the same and so many people these days dishonourably reject anything that they dislike at the peril of replacing democracy with oppression. The SNP are displaying logic that defies rational understanding as materially or to benefit it’s sovereignty there is absolutely no advantage to the Scots by become independent from the UK and then accepting union inside the EU.

    If Scotland leaves the UK then it will complete a circle. It joined the UK because it was bankrupt and as you point out by highlighting all the disadvantages attached to independence it will leave to face bankruptcy again. Having said that all people have the right of self determination for good or ill. So if Scotland wants another referendum then she should be accorded one.

    However the timing is damaging and no doubt that is why Nicola Sturgeon is calling for it now. Common sense dictates that it should be refused until after the Brexit negotiations are complete. In any event it is now going to be a considerable thorn in the governments side. Sturgeon’s cynical and malicious approach to Brexit and independence must horrify all decent peoples North and South of the border and the Scots will dispose of her and her party’s services at the earliest possible opportunity.

  19. alan jutson
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Afraid its all about posturing in order to cover up their own failures.

    I assume the Scottish people will see through this latest independence claim for what it really is.

    Simply another lot that want utopia, but want someone else to pay for it.

    They do not want independence at all, they just want someone else to fund them and to take the blame when they cannot manage themselves.

  20. James Matthews
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    All true enough, but the immediate problem is not the SNP (who, if they were allowed their referendum any time soon, would certainly lose it), but those Scots who use the Nationalists in their manoeuvres to extract unfair advantage from England by painting themselves as the “good cops” in contrast to the Nationalists as “bad cops” and the general and seemingly permanent spinelessness of almost all English MPs in defending English interests.

    It did not take long to bring the arch appeaser Gordon Brown out from under his rock, with a plan for massive new powers for Scotland, including a right to make foreign treaties, in what he describes as a “federal” UK, but which you may safely bet will not include a meaningful English Parliament. Kezia Dugdale, on Radio 4 this morning confirmed that Brown speaks for the Labour Party on this matter.

    Is it too much to hope that the sentimentalists in the Conservative party will wake up and tell the Scots in explicit terms that they must make up their minds – in or out? There really is no rational merit for England in prolonging a mostly fictional Union with an 80% detached Scotland.

    The answer to my rhetorical question is almost certainly no, but we must live in hope.

    • Prigger
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      James Matthews
      You are right.Without the majority of we in the UK being given a vote on the matter, it seems north within our country they are being offered the ability to make international agreements and heaven knows what.
      It is about time this Devolution was not just stopped but reversed. As Andy Burnham said rhetorically in Parliament recently, what about the North of England being able to do such things? Of course it is all a nonsense.
      The truth is we do not want powerhouses of extra Parliaments which are only good for paying regional MPs salaries and for them to lead us into stupid regionalism and pseudo-nationalism.
      Mrs Sturgeon should be told no, publicy and one to one on TV. But told! If the SNP get a Yes vote then Scots are on their bikes and good luck! But they’ll not take English, Welsh and Ulster shirts off our backs with them as they plough on to a tiny unlistened to , EU state.
      #Incidentally, all EU states are going to be renamed. It is in the EU plan. Well it is hoped it will get rid of pesky nationalisms (! )
      Can’t think of another name for EU-Scotland. “West EU”? given that Ireland is too canny to remain in the EU for very long after our exit. I see most the Irish Government have just visited Trump for St Patrick’s Day. Watch this space!

    • Bob
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      “It did not take long to bring the arch appeaser Gordon Brown out from under his rock”

      Let give credit where credit is due.

      Remember who:
      – converted UK motorists to diesel cars to save the planet
      – sold half of the UK gold reserves at bargain prices
      – raised hundreds of billions by raiding private sector pensions to save the NHS
      – ended boom and bust

      He’s a socialist through and through.

      • rose
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        And who muddled up tax and welfare.

  21. Eh?
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    “I demand…” says Sturgeon.

    The total dismantlement of devolution should be planned thoroughly now.

  22. Richard1
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I see Gordon brown has come up with some ludicrous scheme for the Bank of England to change its name to the Bank of England, Scotland…etc. As if that changes anything. Either there is a currency union with banking gurantees and fiscal transfers or there isn’t. He also wants Scotland, within the U.K., to be able to sign international treaties. How would that work? A treaty to station Russian troops in the Shetlands maybe? Brown’s absurd and unnecessary ‘vow’ has created problems where they didn’t need to exist. Sure let’s have as much devolution for Scotland as we can – so long as it’s matched for England – but The people of Scotland need to decide whether they are part of the UK or not. There is no ‘third way’.

    • Atlas
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Dear Gordo is always dreaming up ways the English would remain subsidising the Scots …

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      The Shetlands and Orkneys might want to break with an independent Scotland and form a new relationship with rUK – rather like the IoM is now.

      They have fishing grounds as well as oil.

  23. Who?
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Angus Robertson SNP MP for Moray who with his twenty-four thousand three hundred and eighty- four 2010 voters has stated he has been promised that he has EQUAL status and power in determining international issues and relationships to the 66,000,000 people in the United Kingdom minus his 24,384 voters.

    The BBC in the next interview with him should be authorised to tell him he hasn’t and never will to the rest of his political and natural life. Who in Westminster put such daft ideas into his mind? Who?

  24. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Dear John–The last time the British Army wore red was at the Battle of Ginnis during the Mahdist Wars, of course very much not against the Scots, in fact with the Cameron Highlanders onside. This was in 1885 but still we have an SNP fanatic feeling the need to talk about Redcoats. This level of hatred seems such that no amount of concession a la Gordon Brown is going to help, indeed he got us where we are.

  25. graham1946
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    There is talk of a ‘third way’. From what I can make of it, this solution wants an ‘independent’ Scotland free to do all it wants, including making treaties with other countries and all the rest of what a sovereign government can do, but with the back stop of England continuing to pick up the bill for their profligacy and to carry on providing even more to the Scots voters than England ever gets or will get and keeping the pound sterling. Unfortunately, in the EU, Scotland could not do any treaty making, or keep the pound and would have to pay a membership fee so their thinking is badly off the mark. If they think they are going to be net recipients, they need to think again

    You say the taxpayers won’t stand for it. Maybe so, but what about our politicians? This has never stopped them before. If the taxpayer had a say in England they would not stand for the current situation, but of course are not consulted, government just shovels money up north and the taxpayers have to put up with it. It is never a manifesto issue, just a carve up between the parties.

    If Mrs. Sturgeon really wants a fully fledged independent Scotland, which I truly doubt, she should push for a referendum of the whole of the UK and would be virtually guaranteed her wish, as from what I can ascertain, the English are fed up to the back teeth with paying up and just getting a whingeing Scotland in return.

    I think all this is mostly a cover for the SNP’s awful record of incompetence in using what powers they have.

  26. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Now the idea from “brains-trust” Brown and Labour to give the Scots all the rights they want but none of the responsibilities of living within their means.
    Strange he didn’t suggest that Scotland have the responsibility for sorting out RBS. He was happy enough to chuck that onto the UK taxpayer as a whole.

  27. Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Queen Nicola needs something to keep herself in the headlines in competition with another woman, Theresa May.
    There’s nothing else that she can offer Scotland which is steadily going downhill compared to what it once was. Some 40 years ago, a colleague from Essex moved to Scotland for work with his family, and he was told that his teenage children’s education was way behind the Scottish standard and they were put in a classes below their age group. From what I’ve been told recently, the standards in Scottish schools have fallen so much that it would the other way round these days.
    No, I don’t believe that she actually wants independence, it’s merely a way of keeping herself in the headlines and being an irritant to Mrs May.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      All true. And to extort some more money and a little more power

  28. Pragmatist
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    The SNP people should ponder which political parties in Scotland will accept their membership after their defeat

  29. Beecee
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    The Scottish Education System, once proudly the best in the UK, is in such disarray due to the SNP that joined-up-thinking has not been part of the curriculum for some years.

    This is reflected in the logic being displayed by their present Government at ‘Holyrood’.

  30. The PrangWizard
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    All fine and reasonable, but you can be as sure as God made little apples that the Unionists in government and Unionist MPs will find a way of appeasing Scottish threats yet again, to the detriment of England.

    There is nothing they will not do to demean the dignity England. The SNP know it, which is why they behave the way they do.

    No-one in parliament will put England first, because it will always be second to the union when the chips are down; the ‘precious’ Union must be protected. What’s the point of the Union we have when one part behaves like, and is, a declared enemy of England, and where hatred and envy is the motivation.

  31. Geoffrey Hoyle
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Perhaps it is time for the English to vote on whether they wish to be in a union with Scotland.

    Perhaps it is time for the Lords to be abolished and a new house of elected members, from the union, be installed so enabling the Commons to become an English parliament.

  32. They Work for Us?
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    In the Mikado, the town of Tittipu was threatened with demotion to the status of a village.
    Is it not time for Scotland to be treated as a county, albeit one that is truculent and has prickly nationhood aspirations. Every time Nicola Sturgeon is given prominence and air time as First Minister she is encouraged further. Why do we not deal with her via the Scottish Office only and downgrade her prominence. Gordon Brown’s cunning plan is to give the county of Scotland more rights funded from the dastardly scoundrels in England . I for one am tired of paying to enable the Scots to live at a standard that they cannot alone afford. Abolish Barnett and fund English Social care, NHS etc. The majority population of England should be calling the shots

  33. Big people
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Failed Scottish EX- Prime Minster Brown, is out and about suggesting Scotland should get more powers over fisheries and agriculture when the EU powers come back to the UK. No. And again No.

    As Nicola Sturgeon would remind him, the Scottish people voted in a democratic EU Referendum on 23rd June 2016 that Scotland CANNOT have and DOES NOT WANT power over its fisheries and agriculture. Therefore, after Brexit, the UK as a whole should control fisheries and agriculture for Scotland until such time Scotland’s people and political system is mature enough to deal with important matters. In short, it is for big people!

  34. Yossarion
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I see Gordon Brown is making a speech today again calling for federalism to keep the Scots in the Union, once again his idea is the break up of England into Regions, is this man really a Jacobite trying to succeed in 2017 what they failed to achieve in the 1700s
    One could only wonder at the consternation if an Englishman were to propose the breakup of another Country.
    I see Angus Roberson has already labeled it ” Brown Hog Day”. England really does need an English First Minister at least to fight our Corner.

  35. R.De Witt Jansen
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Off topic completely BUT :
    Mr. Redwood: Because I have always believed that you are man of principle and integrity ( what used to be referred to ‘in the old days’ as “a good and honest broker” and because I do not have sufficient trust in the majority of Politicians to give anything other than a jaundiced answer to the following question which is: Should we remain a signatory of the European Court of Human Rights after exiting the EU in which case will our Judiciary have the power to automatically overturn, without prejudice, any ruling made by ECHR which we consider not applicable to our (hackneyed phrase coming in here) National interests?

  36. Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Mrs Sturgeon asked for a referendum safe in the knowledge that she would not get one. Another referendum is not her immediate aim; all the polls indicate that she would lose and she knows it. No: she wants to use the refusal to stoke up anti-English feeling and cause distractions and irritation to the UK government as they negotiate Brexit, and also to distract from the incompetence and growing unpopularity of her own government. This might seem like a clever game of politics to Mrs Sturgeon. It is certainly not statesmanship.

  37. Andy
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I notice that Gordon Brown was mouthing off this morning and busy dismembering England. Why is it that the political class, particularly the likes of him, have such loathing and hate for England ? England deserves a Parliament of her own and to be treated on equal terms with Scotland. Many of us are fed up with Scottish Imperialism and the attendant racism.

  38. Doug Powell
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    The SNP is showing its EU pedigree – perpetual referenda on the same question until boredom anaesthetises the population into giving the result the Elite wants!

    I don’t doubt that there will be another Independence Referendum after Brexit. That then, will then be a matter for the people of Scotland.

    However, the Unionists can help their case if the Brexit negotiators make total control of the UK fishing grounds a non-negotiable, rather than trading off quotas to secure other matters. Fishing may not be Scotland’s largest industry, but such a statement of intent to restore Scotland’s fishing heritage would be symbolic and emotive, showing a Tory resolve to right the wrongs of Ted Heath when he sold out Scotland’s fishermen.

  39. Augustyn
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I have been reflecting on just why Sturgeon, Salmond, Robertson etc are the way they are. i.e. their behaviour is hardly that of a “normal” Scot and in most other walks of life their screeching rhetoric and scheming would just not be acceptable. Their language is inflammatory and seems to be designed to encourage resentment between the uk nation states. In my view this is dangerous as some individuals may not be able to control their behaviour.

    so, why is it? I do not remember a lot of the history I was taught at my Scottish schools between the ages of 4and 13 but the teaching I clearly recall was Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Bannockburn, Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the highland clearances. There is a common theme here of conflict with England or bad stuff that can be blamed on England and it was taught in Scottish schools in the 60’s and is probably still being taught today. My belief is there is a whole generation of adults who think that Scotland has been under the thumb of England for far too long and such incidents as Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax is dragged out as proof that it is still the case today.

    Ruth Davidson is going to have a problem overcoming this inbred resentment. My suggestion to her would be to go back through history and find the very many good things in the relationship between the Scots and the English.

  40. Tony Sharp
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    John has made a slip in saying that and independent Scotland has to “leave the Pound” – this was Salmond’s slight of hand in confusing the distinction between his initial demand of a UK Currency Union and that the Bank Notes used in a country are the same thing. The Scots could opt to use the Sterling Pound, the Euro, The Dollar or the Brasil Cruszado as its legal tender for trade, but they would have no actual fiscal control over the issuance (the five Scots banks which issue have to have each backed by Bank of England issuance). If they tried to create a fiat issuance of the Scot Notes there would be a hyperinflation as it would have no backing.

    Reply No slip. Their banks would not longer be regulated and guaranteed by the Bank of England, they would have no involvement in rate fixing etc.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 19, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      And in the quite likely event that the Scottish government was heading for bankruptcy the Bank of England would not be there saving it by going into the market and buying up the surplus of Scottish government bonds.

  41. Sam Duncan
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    It occurs to me that the question the SNP needs to answer is whether or not they consider the UK to be the sovereign power in Scotland right now. The way they’re talking – the PM has “no mandate” to deny a referendum, etc. – they seem to think they have an independent state already.

    If that’s the case, then they must accept the consequences. The UK ceases to provide its block grant to Holyrood. The British military no longer provides protection. HMG no longer provides diplomatic representation abroad, either on an individual basis to tourists, or to international organizations. And they will have to answer to the two million Scots who explicitly rejected this state of affairs, “once in a lifetime”, less than three years ago.

  42. JasG
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Here we go again. All the little Englander insults and lies that stoked nationalist fires in the first place and pushed the vote from 29% to 45% are appearing again. No doubt I’ll start be hearing again all the historically and geographically ignorant Hadrians wall comments again. Yes we heard and saw all these insults all over your English-dominated media last time and we heard all the phoney arguments. The difference now is that some people actually believed the outrageous lies that if they voted No then they would get Devo-max. With 53 out of 56 seats it’s clearly an issue of basic democracy not economics. Notwithstanding that the votes of the Scots-born were over 50% and the vote was dragged down to 45% by English settlers.

    Nobody actually knows if Scotland/England would be better or worse off because all the numbers from Westminster are pessimistic guesswork borne out of the 1st Project Fear and btw North Sea oil is far from dead with significant new finds West of Shetland. But if you lot are happy to see Scotland go then why not just shut up? Even for those unhappy about it, it’s still none of your business.

    As for Marianos Rajoy’s band of undemocratic Francoists; a) who by now still doesn’t realise they are more concerned about losing Catalonia? and b) they will be trying to bankrupt Gibraltar post-Brexit too so you might need an ally in the EU. In fact having your primary trading partner in the EU is the best way to avoid all possible Brexit trade issues. All any company needs is a satellite office in Scotland! You can keep your tanking pound though. I don’t see Ireland too worried about having to suffer the Euro.

  43. Insulting minnow.
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Fake News BBC edited out a remark from the LIVE SNP Conference today. One of the remarks which came in quick succession from Sturgeon regarding the Conservatives who she said wished to resurrect Britain’s colonial past. In this she exampled with a dismissive smirk the once-upon-a-time suggested refurbishment of “The Royal Yacht Britannia”. I do believe HRH The Queen is Head of State for ALL the United Kingdom. Something Sturgeon and a number of her bunch fail to respect, at all.

  44. Monty
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I fear we are in imminent danger of drifting into a toxic cycle in which scottish voters keep returning SNP firebrands to Holyrood and Westminster, then slouch to the polls to vote against their independance: rinse and repeat ad nauseam. So long as the likes of Gordon Brown keep bursting out of the woodwork proffering inducements (that he has no right to propose), it will continue to be in Scotlands interests to keep demanding referenda and behaving destructively in both Holyrood and Westminster. The rest of the UK can not be expected to put up with this. It’s already gone too far.

  45. Caterpillar
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    When Scotland does eventually breakaway, apart from the obvious defence assets of RAF Lossiemouth and HMNB Clyde, what will happen to the long range radar positioned throughout Scotland. Since we know Cameron’s Govt seemingly did not have a plan in place for leaving the EU, I would like to know that the current Govt does have at least a national defence plan ready for when Scotland leaves. On the face of it seems that Scotland remains central to defence; given that the Scottish Parliament has a majority in favour of independence the rUK needs to prepare for the change that does appear inevitable.
    I think working under an assumption that Scotland will leave the U.K. could be a more secure approach to take.

    One step further in taking control would be to establish a position of ejecting Scotland from the UK, unless Scotland can show its Govt and people are committed to remain. This allows the rUK to plan on its timescales.

  46. 2 +2 =4
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    An itemised list ( simple ) 1. 2. 3. ( sentences no more than 15 words ) of what the UK government has already given and promised to the Scottish devolved administration should be posted through every UK letterbox, …yesterday.

    How on earth..if you’ll excuse the hackneyed phrase/idiom, did the UK government say to the 5 million people via a minority SNP administration that “Scotland” would be an “Equal Partner” ????? In anything apart but a tennis tournament?
    Scotland population 5 million, most of whom did not vote for the SNP is not “Equal to 61 million people in England, Wales and Ulster!!!!
    So what’s the game???
    Tell Mrs Sturgeon to get on her bike!

  47. Jason W
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Why not let the scots get on with it…whats it going to mattet to us in the long term except we’ll have less taxes yo pay to support them..and while they’re at it they should take northrtn ireland with them..let them all support themselves for a change.

  48. Pat
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The SNP prioritise independence over everything else. Schools, Hospitals, fishing rights, roads, railways etc. all are secondary to them.
    Given their years in charge of Hollywood with those priorities all their secondary objectives are doing poorly. This looks likely to hurt them at the polls soon.
    Since they can’t bring themselves to change priorities they must keep banging on about independence or simply fade away.
    We only need stand firm for a few more years.
    It would help if we changed all those Signs lauding EU projects to clarify where the money actually came from.

  49. Paul Greenwood
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I think Scotland could have a future as a total free-enterprise system without welfare state or social legislation but I see that as alien to Scots’ mentality. There are additionally too many other states using that model – Romania, Ukraine – and Scotland holds no value to the EU without its No2 Net Contributor paying the bills.

    If the UK could extract itself from the EU rather as Yeltsin extracted the RFSSR from the USSR in 1991 and then Sturgeon wants to extract Scotland from Great Britain and the UK I simply do not see what legal status Scotland would have with no currency, no passport, no tax base, no Citizenship basis, and no foreign policy or staff.

    It is hard to see why 5 million people living in Scotland would stay or why it would appeal to Germany to fund Scotland instead of Greece and Ukraine

  50. norman
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I believe the SNP are deluded and dangerous, and do not represent the best of Scotland. However, we should value the Union. This is surely Mrs May’s intention, and I don’t doubt, HM the Queen’s fond hope. The PM has the difficult task of managing the vexatious and malign SNP, whilst avoiding being provoked into insulting Scottish sensibilities. So far, I think she’s done pretty well. It would be a tragedy to see the United Kingdom unravel – something Brussels might have applauded as a means of ‘divide and rule’. Sadly, the post-Reformation cultural glue has been weakened, but meanwhile, let’s not talk down, but affirm our relationship – we can be different, yet united.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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